(Washington, D.C.) Today, the U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule interpreting the test for employment status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that will encourage employers to misclassify workers as independent contractors, denying them of the rights and protections the FLSA provides—and contravening both the plain language of the FLSA and decades of precedent interpreting the law.
The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC):
“Less than three months after the public comment period closed, DOL has issued a rushed and irresponsible final rule that, once again, shows the Trump administration’s non-stop attempts to strip working people of their rights. In the midst of a devastating recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, this rule will make it easier for companies to unilaterally impose independent contracting arrangements—allowing them to dodge responsibility for the workers who create corporate profits and rob them of the basic protections the FLSA guarantees, along with safeguards against discrimination and harassment. This will harm a broad range of workers, but it will inflict the most damage on women and people of color who predominate in the low-paying jobs where independent contractor misclassification is common—including those cleaning homes and buildings, caring for children and elderly individuals, delivering groceries, and providing other essential services that are protecting the public health and keeping our economy afloat during the pandemic. We urge the incoming Biden-Harris administration to quickly reverse this harmful rule.”